Gryphon rugby women off to OUA final and U Sports tourney

GUELPH – The Guelph Gryphons will be looking to book a bus for a late-October trip to Ottawa.

The Gryphs secured spots in both OUA women’s rugby league’s championship match at Kingston next Friday and the U Sports national championship tournament at Ottawa Oct. 30 to Nov. 3 by winning their OUA semifinal match with the McMaster Marauders Friday night at Varsity Field.

The Gryphs turned up their speed in the second half to run to a 77-24 victory over the Marauders.

“Mac is always a great competitors and they make us fight for every inch,” Gryphon coach Colette McAuley said. “It was a great battle. I know the score was a little bit lopsided, but it didn’t take away from the game and what we were trying to do. We worked on several things inside our own 22 and inside the opposition 22. I’m really happy with how they executed.”

Guelph had led 31-17 at halftime before turning on the afterburners in the second half to leave the Marauders behind. This year’s version of the Gryphons is a little quicker than Guelph teams of years gone by as they have speed to burn.

“We have a lot of speed in the forwards and we have a lot of speed in the back so we’re trying to move the ball and play exciting rugby and just let them have fun with it,” McAuley said. “There’s a lot of pace and we try to use that, for sure.”

Of course every team tries to go with their biggest asset and that means the Gryphs no longer play the smash-mouth style.

“We don’t do a lot of crash ball,” McAuley said. “That was our forte at one point, just being bullies on the field. We like to move it around and the girls catch passes great and, of course, dry weather helps. Let’s pray for that in the next three weeks.”

Julia Schell had four tries and six converts for the Gryphs in the semifinal victory while Hannah Beaumont, Emilie P. Belanger, April Wright, Sidney Brown, Talia Hoffman and Emmanuela Jada each scored one try.

With the Queen’s Gaels dropping the Brock Badgers 74-3 in Friday’s other OUA semifinal at Kingston, the Gryphs will travel to Kingston to battle the Gaels in the OUA final for the fifth consecutive year and seventh time in 10 years. Guelph, winners four of the last five title meetings with the Gaels, feel they’re ready for the rematch with Queen’s.

“We’ve done a lot of preparation defensively and just organization,” McAuley said. “We had the two hard games at the beginning of the season against Mac and Queen’s and then you don’t know exactly how you’re doing for the next four weeks.”

Queen’s gets to host this year’s OUA final thanks to a 54-19 victory over the Gryphs Sept. 14 on Gryphon Rugby Day at Varsity Field.

“They capitalized on our mistakes,” McAuley said of that game. “It wasn’t anything they did in attack that we couldn’t defend. It was our mistakes that they capitalized on so we minimize those and we not let them have possession 75 per cent of the time and hopefully the score will be a little bit more in our favour.”

Friday’s final at Nixon Field on the Queen’s campus is to start at 7 p.m.

 

Gryphons 77 Marauders 24
McMaster     17-7–24
Guelph       31-46–77
 
  • Guelph Sports Journal